Prestigious MSDUK Innovation Challenge Announce Seven London Based Finalists
The organisers behind the prestigious MSDUK Innovation Challenge have announced their finalists for 2019 and it includes no less than seven London based companies.
Motics, Statmetrix, Nxsteps, Maji, SmartLingual, Pukket and Kapsule will go head-to-head at the final of the Innovation Challenge 2019 when it takes place at the MSDUK 2019 Conference & Awards in London on the 17th September.
Harvinder Power, Founder of Motics commented on the finalist position saying, “We’re honoured to be a finalist at an amazing competition promoting innovation through diversity, a quality we strive to achieve at Motics.”
Added Olukunle Kayade, Managing Director at Statmetrix, “I am extremely delighted to have Statmetrix shortlisted for the finals of this year’s MSDUK Innovation Challenge. The level of competition at the semi-final stage was very high as all the start-ups represented are solving important societal and industry challenges. The opportunity to represent Statmetrix in the finals is one I am looking forward to as the company continues to grow and take its product to market.”
The announcement came after a full day of pitches from shortlisted Challenge entrants in front of a 12 strong judging panel, drawn from a wide cross-section of UK industry and academia.
Headline sponsor and Challenge judge James Johnson, Corporate Indirect Purchasing Sourcing Specialist at Cummins, commented on this year’s finalist line up saying, “The finalists innovations cover an enormous spectrum of sectors ranging from space technology to portable dishwashers, from pressure-sensing technology to bio-renewable tech that coverts agricultural waste into electricity, and from digital marketing innovations through to cutting edge developments in machine-translation for the medical sector.
“Our finalists are based across the UK including Manchester, Leicester, London, Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Hatfield and 31% are female founders. This year’s finalists also come from a wide spread of ethnic backgrounds including Pakistani, Indian, Caribbean, African, Chinese and Asian.”
Added finalist Alecia Easson, Founder and Director of finalist company Nxsteps, “It’s great to be a finalist in a competition that champions diversity at its core, and pitching with such high calibre semi-finalist only emphasises the greater level of achievement we feel in making it to the finals of the MSD UK innovation challenge. As a black woman from the Caribbean it feels great to represent and illustrate to other women who look like myself what is possible with drive, ambition and resilience.”
Fahim Pour, Co-founder & CEO of Pukket said, “Fifteen years ago when my plane landed in London my only goal was to complete my higher education with the limited resources I had. Being independent and able to support myself has been a key characteristic of my personality since the teenage years and that meant I had to work hard for what I wanted to achieve. Having finished my PhD in the field of entrepreneurship and four businesses later, I’m now on to a winner with Pukket. Reaching the finals has proven many people wrong, including some of the loved ones who could hardly see me making it as an immigrant.”
Fellow finalist Jiawei Li, CEO of SmartLingual added, “It’s my honour to be shortlisted and given the opportunity to promote my idea to a wider audience, to showcase that with technology, language will no longer be a barrier for cross-border healthcare access.
“Winning the competition would be a huge encouragement to us, as it would show that no matter how crazy our ideas are, there are people who share our vision.”
MSDUK Founder and CEO, Mayank Shah, added, “MSDUK’s aim is to bring together innovative and high growth Ethnic Minority-owned businesses with global corporations who are committed towards creating an inclusive and diverse supply chain and the Innovation Challenge is just one way we do this.
“The theme for the third year of our Innovation Challenge is ‘Better Ideas for a Better World’ and entrants had the opportunity of entering any of four categories which were Industry 4.0, Healthcare & Wellbeing, Social Innovation, and Sustainable Futures.
“We ended up with 13 finalists rather than our usual 12 which is testament to the sheer diversity of applications in this year’s Innovation Challenge, as well as to the quality of the pitches and the incredible ideas that sit behind those pitches. It was a very tough day for our judges and again demonstrates the wealth of innovative ideas we have here in the UK within the Ethnic Minority-owned business community.”
The national finalists for 2019 are;
- Aries VR
- Loch Electronics
- Space Platform Technologies
The final of the Innovation Challenge 2019 will take place at the MSDUK 2019 Conference & Awards which is being held in London. The Innovation Challenge final takes place on Tuesday 17th September and will see the 13 entrepreneurs presenting their innovative products and ideas to potential investors, buyers and industry experts. After the live pitch three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who will score finalists on criteria including relevance, quality of innovation and marketing strategy. Challenge prizes include;
- £5,000 cash prize for the Innovation Challenge winner plus introductions to MSDUK’s investor network and workshops
- £40,000 worth of business school scholarships at Ivy League Tuck School of Business for the top four finalists
- £100,000 worth of corporate mentoring delivered via a 12 – 18 month corporate mentoring programme with Accenture and Digital Catapult
- 2-year MSDUK Premium Membership with unlimited access to MSDUK Hub Programmes and events for all 13 finalists
David Chen, Innovation Challenge finalist and CEO of Kapsule commented on the finals saying, “I often liken our progress with Kapsule to that of a growing flower in that we were once a seed, and during the early germination period the seed grows roots downwards, and only once they are deep and strong enough does the shoot emerge from the ground. I feel that we have spent the past 18 months growing our roots and the finals will be the time that we emerge through the top soil to finally show the world what we have been working on.
“Winning this competition will help to give us the platform to move Kapsule to its next phase of life. We have been bootstrapping for almost two years, working every spare moment – sometimes to the detriment of our personal lives and relationships. As minority founders it is well documented the difficulties in getting funding, and we have experienced this first hand. Unfortunately this difficulty is compounded by the fact that we are focusing on an Africa-centred venture, so having the opportunity to pitch to open-minded investors will be a great opportunity.”